August 07, 2019
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Two cancer centers earn NCI designation

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Douglas R. Lowy
Douglas R. Lowy

Two cancer centers in the past week achieved NCI comprehensive cancer center designation.

Representatives of Indiana University (IU) Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center announced their designation on Aug. 6, a week after officials with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center — part of University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine — did the same.

There are now 71 NCI-designated cancer centers across the country.

“Designated cancer centers are recognized for their state-of-the-art research programs and strong commitment to delivering cutting-edge cancer treatment for patients. They are at the core of the nation’s cancer research effort,” Douglas R. Lowy, MD, acting director of NCI, said in a statement.

IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center is the first NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Indiana.

NCI reviewers gave an “outstanding” rating to IU Simon Cancer Center, which received a 5-year $13.8 million grant to support research programs and facilities.

“We take our goal to eliminate cancer's burden in Indiana and beyond seriously,” Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., MD, director of IU Simon Cancer Center, said in a press release. "Our research focuses upon decreasing the number of Hoosiers who develop and die from the cancers that strike our citizens. This grant bolsters support for us to uncover the biologic mysteries of cancer and define new therapies for patients here and around the globe."

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of two NCI-designated cancer centers in Florida, the other being Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

The Firefighter Cancer initiative — a long-term study to assess carcinogen exposure and ways to prevent or reduce cancer risk for firefighters — and its Game Changer vehicle, intended to address health disparities in medically underserved communities, are among the programs that contributed to the center’s NCI designation.

“This is a testament to the incredible focus and teamwork of every single member of our center,” Stephen D. Nimer, MD, director of the cancer center, said in a press release. “We have more than 300 world-class physicians and researchers who are working together on outstanding collaborative and multidisciplinary research that is benefiting or will benefit patients here in our community and across the globe. This is just the beginning.”